Defence Cooperation Agreement with the United States (DCA)

Finland and the United States have negotiated on a new bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement. Concluding the negotiations is an objective included in Finland’s new Government Programme. The Finnish Parliament needs to accept the agreement before it can be adopted. The agreement will reinforce Finland's security and promote the fulfilment of NATO membership obligations.

What is the agreement about?

Security and defence cooperation between Finland and the United States is based on shared needs and objectives, and on a sustained approach to long-time cooperation(Link to another website.) between the defence administrations and with other parties. In August 2022, Finland decided on opening negotiations with the United States on a new bilateral Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA). The United States is one of Finland's most important allies, and the new Government Programme includes an objective to conclude the DCA negotiations.

The DCA will be a binding international agreement and it will provide an up-to-date framework for cooperation between Finland and the United States. The provisions of the DCA will mainly be based on the NATO Status of Forces Agreement (NATO SOFA). The DCA clarifies the rules for cooperation and allows the parties to deepen it in all security situations. In this way, the DCA will reinforce Finland's security and contribute to the fulfilment of Finland's obligations as a member of NATO.

The DCA deals with practical issues such as the entry of troops, prepositioning of equipment, and taxation. The DCA specifies the locations where the cooperation and collaboration between Finland and the United States would primarily focus. Going forward, the DCA will enable the United States to make use of Congress funding for possible infrastructure investments in Finland.

Several other NATO countries have a similar bilateral agreement with the United States. Of the Nordic and Baltic countries, Norway, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania already have an agreement in place, and Sweden and Denmark are in the process of negotiating theirs. The change in the security environment in Finland and Europe as a result of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine further emphasises the importance of bilateral cooperation that fits a range of different security situations.

Finland’s membership in NATO will not diminish the importance of bilateral cooperation with the United States. Instead, it will open up new opportunities and promote Finland’s contribution to NATO's collective defence.

The DCA negotiations are conducted by a delegation appointed by the President of the Republic(Link to another website.). The entire Government participates extensively in the delegation’s work. The agreement must be signed, accepted and brought into force in accordance with Finland’s Constitution. The acceptance of the Agreement requires the Parliament’s approval.

Stages of the approval process

  1. A joint meeting of the President and the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy outlines the agreement.
  2. Parliament is informed of the outcome of the negotiations (sections 47 and 97 of the Constitution).
  3. The President of the Republic, on the basis of a presentation by the Government, grants an authorisation to sign the agreement. The agreement becomes a public document.
  4. The agreement is signed.
  5. The Government plenary session submits to Parliament a government proposal for the acceptance and bringing into force of the agreement.
  6. Parliament gives its reply on the government proposal.
  7. The President of the Republic approves the agreement on the proposal of the Government. Finland and the United States exchange notes, informing each other of the completion of the national procedures.
  8. The agreement enters into force internationally within a period specified in the agreement after the Parties have informed each other of the completion of the national procedures to bring the agreement into force. 
  9. The agreement is brought into force in Finland by an act of Parliament and by Government decree.